Here are our Black Angus cattle thoroughly enjoying their lucerne trees, with its nutritious food grazed directly off the trees.
We hand-milk our jersey milk cow for our homestead dairy milk.
Because my daughter and I are “hands-on” preparing the cow’s food for her milking session, we have monitored that when we give her chipped lucerne tree feed mixed with some crushed mealies and a scoop of molasses, her milk production increases.
Chipped lucerne trees provide excellent protein and fibre.
We mostly give her fresh, wet chipped food,which smells delicious — almost like candyfloss!
Sometimes the chipped food ferments in the bags, providing nutrient-rich, fermented kuilvoer or silage.
We also lay out the chippings on a tarpaulin to dry and store. This method allows us to store chipped lucerne tree food in bags for the weeks when we are not pruning or chipping fresh lucerne tree branches.
At night, when we bring our cow in to the milk shed, we give her a generous helping of chipped food to supplement her grazing. We have the loveliest, rich, creamy milk which I use to make our butter, yoghurt, cream cheese and feta cheese.
Lucerne trees are an essential part of our homesteading. They form the basis of our year-round food.
Have you ordered your seeds for this spring season?
We regularly chip our lucerne trees for exceptional fibre-rich, nutritious year-round food!
Please pop over to our new page Chipped Food for all our lucerne tree chipping information:
Read more on ~
- How to chip
- What chipper we use
- How to store your chipped food
- Recipe for chipped feed mix for finishing or animals in milk
- Advantages of chipping lucerne trees
- Tonnage food per tree pruned and chipped
Please like our new Lucerne Tree Farm Facebook page so that you will not miss out on our posts, photos or comments.
The value of lucerne trees is that they keep your animals in good condition.
As the dry, hot summer burn the veld and grasses, and as grazing becomes more limited, our camped lucerne trees are a blessing and relief.
Our Angus cattle spend the first few days eating the grasses and then move on to browse the lucerne trees. Lucerne trees provide nitrogen-fixing in the soils which enhance the grasses growth, as well as providing shade and wind protection to keep soil moisture up after rains or irrigation. While normal lucerne fields are our “food bank” where we cut, bale and store lucerne, the lucerne trees are an indispensable part of our grazing rotations. It is never too late to start planting lucerne trees!
- Prune your trees to promote
bushy, dense foliage. Side branches and more leaves will grow on off the main branches and stem.
- Branches will become thicker and will not break easily if your animals graze directly off the trees.
- Prune your trees to maintain optimal grazing height = 1m to 1.5m tall trees with loads of nutrient-dense leaves.
- Animals will not be able to eat every leaf off a pruned tree. Densely leafed trees will always have central leaves as their “solar panels” to provide food for the tree even after they have been grazed. This will prevent grazed trees going into ‘shock’ and they will recover quicker.
- Prune your young trees, even while in their potting bags to promote side buds. Simply nip off the top growing tips of your 30cm sapling. You do not want to grow a thin, tall, spindly tree. You want to encourage bushy growth from the start.
- Prune with sharp, clean shearers. Cut your branches off with clean, slightly angled slice.
- Of course you must use your clippings! Feed to your animals chipped, or on whole branches or simply slide your fingers down tougher branches, removing the leaves into feed troughs. These clippings will also make excellent compost or mulch as they are packed with nitrogen!
Spring has sprung! Order your seeds and trees now!